UDF’s theme is development and LDF’s is ‘restore Kozhikode’s pride’

The battle for Kozhikode constituency promises to be a no-holds-barred affair with the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) making it one of their prestigious contests in north Kerala.

While the Congress-led UDF is playing the ‘development’ theme to ensure a smooth passage for its nominee and sitting MP M.K. Raghavan of the Congress, the LDF is trying to play on ‘restore Kozhikode’s pride’ theme to wrest the constituency through A. Vijayaraghavan of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also taken to the fray in all seriousness fielding its former State president C.K. Padmanabhan.

Lead in four segments

In the 2011 assembly elections, the LDF had won four—Elathur, Kozhikode North, Beypore and Kunnamangalam—of the seven Assembly segments forming part of the constituency. The LDF camp sees this as their starting point and says that their effort is to work towards a convincing lead based on this outcome. A two-time Rajya Sabha MP, CPI(M) Central committee member and general secretary of the All India Agricultural Workers Union, Mr. Vijayaraghavan is being seen by his party and supporters as a good choice.

However, Mr. Raghavan has come a long way from winning the 2009 polls with a slender margin of 838 votes against P.A. Mohammed Riyas of the CPI(M). The electoral battle was neck-and-neck between the UDF and the LDF across all the seven Assembly segments in 2009 and Mr. Raghavan finally emerged victor thanks to a lead of 12,844 votes he got in the Koduvally Assembly segment. He has been visible across the constituency over the past five years and has endeared himself to even sections ranged against him.

Mr. Raghavan also claims that he was the one to usher in ‘development’ to his constituency in a concrete sense but, when confronted with questions on national issues like price rise and corruption in United Progressive Alliance 2, he finds solace in the self-diminutive description as a “small man whose first duty is to his constituency rather than a national leader.”

In a recent meet-the-press programme, the BJP candidate had latched on to this limited breadth of vision of his UDF adversary.

Mr. Padmanabhan expects the Modi ‘wave’ to propel him into the wining position.

The Revolutionary Marxist Party has fielded N.V. Prathap Kumar, a former Democratic Youth Federation of India leader.

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